Processing news briefs, June 27

Petroleos de Venezuela � Petroecuador � Nan Ya Plastics � Formosa Plastics Group � Sunoco � Epsilon Products � BAR-L � Washington Penn Plastic Co.

Venezuelan President Hugo Ch�z told reporters in Caracas he has presented Ecuador with a proposal aimed at sealing a bilateral accord for joint processing and distribution of crude oil. Ch�z said he gave the proposal to Ecuadoran President Gustavo Noboa June 16. The accord would involve an agreement between state oil companies Petroleos de Venezuela SA and Petroecuador under which Ecuadorian crude would be processed at Venezuelan refineries. Ecuador announced recently that it would shut down one or more of its refineries and begin importing oil products, as this would be cheaper than producing them domestically (OGJ Online, May 26, 2000). Ch�z said the accord may involve a barter, although he didn't elaborate.

Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. (UDS), San Antonio, Tex., will construct a 50,000 bbl pressurized tank at its McKee, Tex., refinery to segregate low-sulfur gasoline blendstock. The separation of this stream will allow the McKee facility to produce low-sulfur gasoline, similar in composition to California Air Resources Board (CARB) gasoline, for sale in Phoenix, which has opted to use this cleaner-burning gasoline beginning in November. Production of the lower-sulfur fuel will also meet federal regulations proposed to take effect in 2004, says UDS. The company plans to begin blending and shipping low-sulfur gasoline to Phoenix in September using proprietary and third-party pipelines. The completion of the pressurized gasoline tank will allow for supply optimization between McKee and the company's Wilmington, Calif., refinery, which produces CARB gasoline.

Nan Ya Plastics Corp. plans to spend $1.9 billion (Twn.), or about $62.3 million (US), to construct a second 100,000 tonne/year phthalic anhydride (PA) plant at Formosa Plastics Group�s petrochemical complex in central Taiwan. The plant is scheduled to begin commercial operation before the end of next year. Nan Ya currently operates a 100,000 tonne/year PA plant at the FPG complex.

Sunoco Inc. and Epsilon Products Co. have formed a joint venture combining Epsilon's polypropylene plant at Marcus Hook, Pa., with Sunoco Chemicals' polymer-grade propylene splitters. The polypropylene plant is adjacent to Sunoco's Marcus Hook refinery. The new venture will be owned by Sunoco and BAR-L, an affiliate of Washington Penn Plastic Co. Inc. that is an owner of Epsilon. The agreement provides for future expansion of both propylene and polypropylene production to meet demand growth.

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